817 of 895 people found the following review helpful
on June 26, 2011
I bought this book because I follow the food blogs and everyone was raving about it. That love continues here on Amazon, where she's got nothing but 5 star reviews. I like the book, but ...
I don't know who she is trying to reach here. You would expect that most people who follow food blogs and know of her would know some basics about cooking, yet she has some pages devoted to things that quite frankly I find condescending. Recipes for fruit salad, pita chips and egg salad seem a waste of space, not to mention pages devoted to making rice, whipped cream, tea (tea! as in boil water - add tea - steep) and compound butter. The two pages devoted to how to poach an egg are kind of insulting. To me. Not to everyone.
That's my problem with the book. I cook a lot. I follow the food blogs too get inspiration and to get some recipes without having to buy the newest cookbooks. I know basic techniques. I figure other people who follow her blog (the people I imagine she hopes will buy this book) would, too. Or at least they have demonstrated their ability to look things up on the internet - google how to poach an egg if you must.
These basic techniques seem more silly when you consider her fancy-pants ingredients lists. "I shop alongside some of the best chefs in the city ..." If you can't poach an egg or cook rice, are you really using harissa and membrillo?
I bought this book thinking it would be a nice inspiration for summer veggies. But this is a pantry-heavy cookbook. Yes, its vegetarian, but it is what my husband calls "roly-poly vegetarian." Lots of beans and pasta and potatoes. There are at least ten recipes that basically dress up a pound of store-bought pasta or a 15oz can of beans.
There are pretty pictures (though many are of flowers and trees and Heidi - not all the recipes have pictures and no pictures accompany her how-tos). I mean, it's a nice book. But I would recommend Kim Boyce's "Good to the Grain" Good to the Grain: Baking with Whole-Grain Flours if you want to bake with whole grains over the breakfast and sweets portions of this book. And like I said, the rest is pasta and beans and tea and egg salad.
My recommendation - if you aren't looking for link love from Heidi for your own blog, skip this and just visit her web site, where you can get similar recipes and pictures and chit chat - for free.
37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on September 4, 2011
Most of the recipes in this book are basically very good.
But by making several of them I've learned Heidi LOVES her salt, garlic, onions, Parmesan cheese and olive oil. Many recipes call for generous amounts of one or more of these. Sometimes a little too generous, in my opinion.
One that especially comes to mind is the Broccoli Gribiche recipe. It calls for TWO whole shallots(flavor is like a combo of garlic and onion), and a half a cup olive oil in the dressing! And mind you that's after baking the broccoli and potatoes in several tbsp's of it. I found out the hard way that is MUCH too much of both ingredients. Our dinner that night was hot bowls of greasy heartburn.
Never one to give up on the first try, I scaled back the shallots to HALF of a small one, and the oil to a 1/3. The result was delish and is now a family favorite. It just needed some tweaking, like many of them.
This is not a book you can go to expecting every recipe to turn out perfectly by just following the recipes to the letter. You'll probably have to cut way back on or add more of ingredients in every one. Sometimes you'll have to cook things for longer or for a shorter span of time. If you don't mind doing that and you like somewhat plainer dishes (you won't find many unusual or exotic flavors here) you might still like this.
Some other weak points I should mention are some downright silly filler recipes - 'How to boil/poach eggs', 'How to make tea', 'how to make egg salad sandwiches' and 'how to roast strawberries'. Really? -.-
The 'dessert' section is joke, and you won't find much more than hippie-dippie stuff like granola, oatmeal bars and fruit salads.
All that being said however, if you want this book and don't mind a little extra effort go for it, there are some real gems in here.
88 of 95 people found the following review helpful
Heidi Swanson loves to cook and it shows: her newest book, Super Natural Every Day: Well-loved Recipes from My Natural Foods Kitchen, is a delight. Beautiful photos and terrific descriptions of the recipes and how to prepare them (often with stories and helpful cooking tips) reading this book will inspire you to try many of the recipes.
Most of us wear about 10% of what is in our closet...same with cooking--we make a handful of our favorites over and over again. For this book, Swanson recorded her everyday meals for a couple of years and voila--simple and delicious dishes to enjoy daily.
The book surprises with unexpected pairings like potato salad with tofu. I tried and loved the fennel salad, which features paper-sliced thin ingredients....A simple recipe like the chickpea wrap in whole wheat Lavash flatbread was yummy (I happened to have the bread and other ingredients on hand and made it impulsively...Yum!)
To Swanson, natural food cooking means an abundance of fruits and veggies--local (and organic) whenever possible. Living in San Francisco, she is able to take advantage of the abundance of fresh produce and food from farmer's markets. However, as the popularity of local food grows, many of us can do the same.
Swanson loves to cook with whole grains--I discovered you can actually buy frozen wild or brown rice--but don't bother...whole grains take up to an hour to cook, but need no attention once they have boiled. And, if you are not familiar with wild or brown rice, farro, wheat berries and other whole grains, you are in for a treat!
You don't have to be a vegetarian to love this book--it is literally filled with healthy and interesting recipes that anyone would love! Plus, if you do eat meat and are looking for ways to cut down, this book is a terrific starting point.
Norma Lehmeier Hartie, author of Harmonious Environment: Beautify, Detoxify & Energize Your Life, Your Home & Your Planet
88 of 98 people found the following review helpful
on April 8, 2011
I'm in love with the recipes in this cookbook for 3 reasons:
1 - Nearly every recipe has loads of vegetables and plenty of protein.
2 - Most recipes leave room for improvisation and many have suggestions for alternatives and substitutions.
3 - Each recipe contains at least one knock-you-socks-off component.
Brown butter, creme fraiche, harissa, toasted seeds and nuts... I feel like this is the style of many of her 101 Cookbooks recipes and I love it. I doubt there is a single boring recipe in this cookbook.
For example: I made my first recipe from it tonight, Black Bean Salad, which called for beans, feta, lemon juice, pepitas, and caramelized oven-roasted cherry tomatoes. Fantastic.
41 of 45 people found the following review helpful
on April 6, 2011
I've been waiting for this book to come out for months, and I was not disappointed - it was worth the wait. As expected, the photography and layout are beautiful. Every recipe made my mouth water. I patiently read through the entire thing, and I've decided not to flag any recipes to try - I want to try ALL of them. I feel inspired by the fact that these are Heidi's every day recipes - cooking my way through this book will give me the confidence to come up with my own every day recipes. Heidi's previous book, Super Natural Cooking, is a great book from which I have discovered several favorites, but Super Natural Every Day comes down to my rushed, basic-ingredients, substitute-what-you-have, on-the-fly, weeknight universe. It will inspire me on the days I feel like just having a lazy dinner of cheese and crackers - I know I can feel the calming comfort of a good meal with basic ingredients, a few classic techniques, and just a little bit of patience.
For those who are unfamiliar with "healthy" foods and ingredients, this is a great place to start. Heidi's previous book, Super Natural Cooking, gives a more in-depth description of how to add healthier foods to your diet, but Super Natural Every Day is a bit more accessible and uses more easily attainable ingredients.
25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on August 1, 2012
The book is beautiful and Heidi is a good writer but a great natural chef, judging by this book no. I've read Heidi's blog and I'm a regular reader of several other vegetarian / vegan blogs. In fact I would highly recommend Heidi's recipe for brown-butter lentil soup from her blog. If more of the book were like that recipe my rating would be higher. I was expecting a book full of recipes aimed at someone like me, who knows the basics of cooking and is looking for some natural everyday recipes, instead I got a lot of info on very, very basic cooking techniques; loads of great photographs of SF, food, and herself; and an essay about how great her life in SF is, how great the markets are there, how she lives in a modest flat in the middle of SF (as a bay area resident, I scoffed at this... a flat in the middle of SF is so expensive, I would hardly call it "modest"). As other reviewers have pointed out pages devoted to how to make tea, how to poach an egg, how to make fresh whipped cream feel very out of place in this book. Even things like dates stuffed with almond paste are so simple, it seems wasteful devoting an entire page to it. I also wondered about how 'natural' recipes were that basically consisted of store bought ravioli with a bit of vegetable. Many of the recipes were pasta or canned beans dressed up a bit, hardly "natural" in my opinion. If you have absolutely no experience cooking I might recommend this book, but if you've done such complicated cooking tasks, like poaching an egg or making tea, I would pass on this book. Heidi has a great blog with much better recipes and not so much fluff. I haven't read her other cookbook, maybe that one is better.
47 of 57 people found the following review helpful
on January 15, 2012
Heidi Swanson opens her book with "I live in a modest six-room flat with twelve-foot ceilings on the second floor of a Victorian apartment in the middle of San Francisco."
Ok? I already hate her.
Her recipes are usually interesting but most in this book are bland and like some other reviewers already said: Don't teach me how to boil tea or make rice or even how to poach an egg.
I think Heidi missed the mark in this book. Her previously released books are more iteresting and I would recomend those more.
56 of 69 people found the following review helpful
on June 1, 2012
If you think a recipe of white beans and wilted cabbage really doesn't seem like it would taste that good then you are correct. I've gone through and done three recipes so far. Every time I make something I think to myself "well, those don't seem like they would go good together." And I've been right. I'm disappointed in how bland these recipes are and how these strange concoctions have come together to create something that tastes as weird as it sounds. For example, my last recipe had me mix black beans, fete, oven roasted cherry tomatoes (with sludge), lemon juice and almonds. If it doesn't seem like those blend well together, it's because they don't. None of the ingredients complimented each other very well and I think I"m done trying.
The other negative thing I want to add about his cookbook is out of the 236 pages, only 38 of them are for lunch and dinner recipes! The rest are dedicated to breakfast (most breakfasts are vegetarian anyways) snacks, drinks (because it's so hard to find a meatless shake these days), treats and "accompaniments". Oh, and pictures. Lots of pictures. Some of them don't even have anything to do with food. There's two pages filled with a black and white photo of a field where the author is wearing a black dress and walking down a path.... What does that have to do with anything? And another one of a guy sitting on a log in a dry river bed filled with rocks.
I don't know, maybe I'm not hip enough to get his book, but it's very disappointing and unless you're super cool or something, I wouldn't bother.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on June 28, 2013
I'm really not sure how this book won its award. I'm an experienced home cook and baker who loves whole food and was excited about trying out this book, but three recipes later I'm giving up. First attempt was the oatmeal, which was all right I suppose but most of it stayed in my fridge until it had to be thrown away because nobody liked it enough to have more than a spoonful. Then came the millet muffins, which were borderline-nice straight out of the oven but after they'd cooled developed a taste and texture a bit like bird food mixed with wallpaper paste. Last night was the buttermilk cake, which took way longer to cook than the recipe said and was so low-sugar it tasted a lot like congealed wholemeal putty. This is a book to make functional whole food for people who don't care about taste. Such a shame, as the recipes look great on the page and whole food can be super tasty, as well as nutritious
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on April 11, 2011
As the size of my cookbook library has grown, my criteria for purchasing (and keeping) cookbooks has gotten more difficult to meet. I ordered this one on a whim, as a sometimes reader of Heidi's 101 Cookbooks blog I was curious and the sneak peek she featured on her website really peaked my interest. It has more than exceeded my expectations. Her cookbook is filled with unique recipes, gorgeous photography and inspiring, well-written descriptions of each recipe. I would say about 50% of the recipes have photos which make me look forward to making and serving them even more.
It's obvious that Heidi has gone out of her way to make this cookbook approachable by using easily found ingredients and by including substitutions in her notes for those that might be more difficult to find. She also focuses on simplifying steps and trying to dirty as few dishes as possible which I am so thankful for. So far, I have only cooked the ravioli salad with pepitas and black olives. It was simply delicious and very easy to make! I look forward to trying many, many recipes from this book and sharing them with my family and friends. Thank you Heidi!